Paris is such a wonderful place and particularly on a very good day, it is a wonderful experience to walk alongside of Seine River. Similar to London, number of tourist attractions is around the Seine River. On a beautiful autumn morning, we decided to walk from Louvre Museum towards the Notre Dame Cathedral.
We walked for a mile or two, enjoying the scenic river and beautiful buildings, (window) shopping the arts and book shops along the banks of Seine. Once in a while, we turned back to have a glimpse of the majestic Eiffel tower, that some times disappeared behind tall buildings. Though we were walking in Paris, we had reasons to be reminded about the streets of Chennai when one well built and well dressed gentleman, approached us and with a lot of confidence and pride and asked “Can you spare some change please….”. To be honest, it took 10 seconds for us to realise, he was begging. In so-called developed economy, it is a common scene to see children begging as well. The only difference was the beggars in Paris were well dressed,
As we continued walking, this time we were reminded of Pondy Bazar at Chennai, as we came across number of hawkers selling bullying us with substandard souvenirs. We also observed number of hawkers selling padlocks. In our wild imagination, we assumed Paris makes good locks, similar to Dindugal, in South India. We were taken by surprise when we reached a bridge, where there were tens of thousands of locks, locked on both the sides of the bridge. This time, we were reminded of the scene in temples where people tie number of Thottil, Mudichi (knot) on several branches of Peepal Tree (Arasamaram). Unaware of the significance of those locks, we made a few enquiries and we learnt that they were “Love Locks”.
For those of you who haven’t heard of them, here's the story. A couple writes their names on a padlock and locks it onto one of the bridges. They then throw the key into the Seine River as a symbol of their undying love. Some say the only way to break the seal of love brought on by this love lock act is to find the key and unlock the padlock. Of course, that is nearly impossible, since the keys lie at the bottom of the river. This reality induces many broken-hearted individuals to return with bolt cutters to try to chop off the padlocks.
Our imagination went wild, at the sight of multiple padlocks tied to one pad lock; Number of padlocks locked one to the other to make a chain of padlocks etc… With the satisfaction of not spending EUR 10/- on padlocks ourselves, we took number of photographs and had a good laugh. We continued our walk with a satisfaction “Superstition is not prevalent only among people in India”.